Star Wars: Timelines – The ultimate Star Wars history book

Marvel’s Star Wars: Darth Vader #32. Image courtesy
Marvel’s Star Wars: Darth Vader #32. Image courtesy /

“From the time before the High Republic to the fall of the First Order”

Those are the words that adorn the cover of the latest reference book for the galaxy far, far away. For more casual Star Wars fans who might not comprehend the gravity of this statement, such a time span covers more than 25,000 years of fictional galactic history, or “over a thousand generations” as one Jedi master might put it. Only in a few places does it become apparent how enormous the Star Wars universe really is.

Written by a veteran team of writers, including: Kristen Baver, Jason Fry, Cole Horton, Amy Richau and Clayton Sandell (as well as contributions from a sizable team), Star Wars: Timelines is perhaps the most comprehensive reference book yet written.

The amount of research and fact checking needed to ensure such a telling is accurate and makes sense to a general audience is nightmarish to consider. Star Wars is a saga told by literally hundreds of writers across every medium imaginable for close to half a century and counting. Crafting a retelling such as this is surely just as complicated as assembling a real world historical account.

The guide is not just a historical document, it truly is a ‘timeline’ organizing in chronological order, the breadth and width of the events that shape galactic history. For periods of intense historical significance, this is sometimes broken-down day by day, hour by hour for concurrent events. The timeline is guided by arrows that show readers the correct flow of events as periods of multiple occurrences will branch off and create a complicated tree of information. The detail is truly staggering in such cases, but thanks to thoughtful formatting, it rarely becomes overwhelming.

When necessary, the book is neatly broken up into segments that escape from the chronological flow of time and will instead narrowly focus on a single character or event, regardless of how long a time period they or it occupies. If not for these recesses in the guides pages, there truly would be cause for concern as many a reader would become lost in the endless passage of time and events that the guide presents.

As the book itself states, the representation of events into a tightly bound chronological order shows us how moments that may be separated by decades and light years can have a huge impact on stories told elsewhere and when.

For example, one segment near the end of the Clone Wars that focuses on the Outer Rim sieges, gives us a detailed and visually appealing look at a myriad of events composed by different writers at different times across different mediums that all intersect with one another. Whilst Yoda is being taught by force spirits how to preserve his identity after death, Maul and his Mandalorian cohorts are fighting General Grievous and Count Dooku, while a young Thrawn assists Anakin and Padmé in destroying a cortosis mine. What I have just described are events from an animated show, a comic book, and a novel respectively, all written years apart, yet here presenting in seamless order.

All this and more are present in Star Wars: Timelines. The guide covers the established lore from the release of the original Star Wars in 1977 all the way to the near present, up to and including the events of last year’s Obi-Wan Kenobi series. Sadly, the events of the most recent additions such as Andor, Tales of the Jedi and of course season 3 of The Mandalorian as well as some of the more recent books and comics are not included as they were not released in time before publication. If the book had kept waiting to catch up with the real world, it would likely never be released and put coffee tables everywhere at serious risk.

That being said, although it has still been less than a decade since the canon ‘reset’ in 2014 that omitted the Expanded Universe canon, now referred to as ‘Legends’, the sheer amount of detail packed into 352 pages is truly mind blowing. In another 10 years from now when another such reference book will be sorely needed, it will be interesting for readers to see how the next team of writers can top this latest edition and if there will be enough room to contain an entire galaxy’s worth of stories yet to be told.

Star Wars: Timelines releases in the US on April 25 in all major bookstores.

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Will you be picking up a copy of Star Wars: Timelines? Let us know in the comments below! For all things Star Wars, head on over to Dork Side of the Force!